Wyomings Governor Mark Gordon (YouTube, Wyoming PBS)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said on Thursday that the Biden administrations halt on new oil and gas leases and drilling will hamper Wyoming’s economic recovery.

The Department of the Interior issued a temporary temporary order on Wednesday halting new leases and drilling on federal public lands.

The Department of Interior’s Secretarial Order temporarily suspending nearly all activities related to leasing and other activities of the Department of the Interior is unnecessary, punitive and contrary to President Biden’s pledge to unify our nation and get people back to work,” Gordon said. “At a time when we need to come together, this action only irritates wounds that have barely begun to heal.”

The order will hurt Wyoming and other western states, according to Gordon.

“It only delays the ability to get more people back to work and interferes with Wyoming’s ability to expand its economy,” the governor said. “All Wyoming people should be concerned about this action because the revenue from development on public lands drives the funding for schools, healthcare and other key services.”

“These types of federal actions threaten the ability of Wyoming’s energy industries to operate in a normal fashion and signal a larger threat to our state’s economic vitality. This is a disheartening start to the new Administration.”

Wyoming’s rig count climbed in December with the price of oil increasing, according to the State of Wyoming Economic Analysis Division.

A Wyoming Energy Authority study conducted by University of Wyoming Professor Tim Considine found that a ban on oil and gas drilling on public lands could result in 72,818 fewer jobs in western states annually.

That would result in $19.6 billion in lost wages over the next four year, the study found.

Wyoming had 9,200 oil and gas jobs in Nov. 2020, which was down 3,800 from the prior year, according to the state’s Economic Analysis Division.

The study found that western states could lost $138.3 billion in gross domestic product over the next 20 years if the drilling bans are in effect. Wyoming could lose $138.3 billion in gross domestic product during that period.

The study also found that consequences of the ban in Wyoming could include the elimination of:

  • 18,228 jobs on average each year
  • $10.6 billion in oil and natural gas investments
  • production valued at $3.8 billion
  • $2.1 billion in tax revenue to the state
  • $10.3 billion in GDP
  • $4.7 billion in wages.